A loyal dog who waited for weeks outside a hospital after her owner, a homeless man, was admitted for treatment, is ecstatic to be back in the arms of her favorite human.
At Santo Antônio de Jesus Regional Hospital in Brazil, 30-year-old general surgery resident Dr. Vanessa Almeida met 36-year-old Claudiano as a patient when he was admitted for a severe wound on his hand, requiring surgery.
“He is currently unemployed. He is a walker, and has traveled through several states of Brazil on foot alongside Mel, his faithful companion,” Almeida told The Epoch Times.
Claudiano initially refused to stay in hospital because 6-year-old mixed breed Mel would be “helpless,” but staff immediately agreed to take care of the dog.
“Initially she was very sad; my heart broke to see her … she never left the hospital door,” Almeida said.
Almeida, who carries pet food for stray animals in her car, saw Mel every day that Claudiano was hospitalized. She fed the dog and gave her fresh water, making sure to shower and change clothes before returning to the surgery ward in order to prevent dirt from outdoors reaching the hospital environment.
She took Mel to the vet, where the dog was bathed, treated for fleas, and evaluated for general health. Gradually, Almeida saw Mel’s appearance improve as she received love and care from every angle.
The doctor said, “Other health professionals were very important in this process, such as Nurse Tete who also accompanied both Mel and Claudiano. The veterinarian, Cristina, helped us by providing some services at no cost. After a while, most of the hospital staff were moved, and Mel received help from people in administration, kitchen, cleaning, reception, and visitors, among others.”
But the biggest thrill of all for Mel was her regular meetings with Claudiano in the parking lot, surrounded by happy onlookers and hospital staff. Almeida shared videos of the touching reunions on TikTok.
“Mel cried a lot every time she met him. She jumped into his arms, played a lot, and after a few minutes slept peacefully while receiving affection. All encounters were very emotional; the love between a dog and its owner is very evident,” Almeida said.
Watch their touching reunion:
(Courtesy of Amanda Santana)
(Courtesy of Amanda Santana)
Almeida said Claudiano’s mood improved after each encounter with Mel, which aided his recovery. He has since been transferred back to his hometown, where Almeida expects he will complete treatment.
After sharing Claudiano and Mel’s story online, the doctor received an influx of interest from people wanting to help. She set up a donation page, raising over 20,000 Brazilian reals (approx. US $3,780), and a local hairdresser, Rodrigo Franco of Ney Silva’s salon, boosted Claudiano’s self-esteem with a free shave and fresh haircut.
Almeida’s sharing also managed to reunite a family.
“Claudiano’s family got in touch with me,” she said. “Some sisters had not seen him for almost ten years, and through our contact it was possible for them to meet again. I talk to them through social networks, I receive photos, and I hope that they are well.”
Almeida believes in the “chain of good,” that by planting a small seed, the love that blooms becomes contagious.
“It was really nice to see how so many people supported this cause,” she told The Epoch Times. “Some disbelieved at first, but persistence and faith made us go further … it is possible to make a difference in people’s lives.”
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